Flack: Online dating not as bad as you think

Sean Flack

I’m not as social as I used to be. Don’t get me wrong I can be social, but most of the time I choose not to. This isn’t a result of a crippling lack of confidence or a fear of human interaction, but rather, a dislike for most people I interact with on a daily basis. I’m not trying to make myself seem like some emperor of cool or anything. I just enjoy my own space more these days than hearing about Sally so-and-so talk about the “awesome” bars she got drunk at last weekend.

But I do get lonely, sometimes. I mean, I have great friends, but sometimes I miss the electricity that one shares with a lover. That being said, when you have your iPod in at all times, it’s kind of hard to have yourself open to chance encounters with the opposite sex. That, coupled with the fact I hardly ever run into any cool, single girls, makes the idea of serendipitously running into my college sweetheart slim to none.

And then something magical happened. One of my most critical friends found a girlfriend. This was an awesome girl who matched up with each one of my friend’s specific things he looks for in a girl, and she attended school at Iowa State. Where’d they meet, you ask? Online.

Despite legitimate sites like eHarmony and match.com, online dating still carries a reputation with it that is less than desirable. But after noticing my friend’s luck with OkCupid, I decided to go on the site and create a profile for myself.

All of us have heard the same speech over and over again about how Facebook and other social media are changing our lives. But it’s true. As a society, I feel that young people are preferring electronic interaction to human interaction because it’s simply less scary. Hiding behind a computer screen, you can take the time to formulate responses and avoid awkwardness. This is one of the appeals of online dating.

But while OkCupid is a free site, the clientele is usually not sketchy. Of course you’ll have your occasional “jellylover34,” but most times you’ll find honest people trying to make a connection with someone — whether that be friendly or romantically. Bear in mind, though, that I’m speaking from a guy’s perspective on the site. Girls report getting more creepy messages, but still guarantee there are some diamonds in the rough.

I’ve been using the site for a couple months now, and I have to say that it’s been mostly a success. I’ve met two friends and went on one failed date throughout my time on there. This isn’t because of lack of fish in the sea, but rather my own pickiness. There are hundreds of girls to choose from in the area. And I know I’m making this out to be some sort of game, but isn’t dating like that already? We go to a bar or a party or class and see women and decide whether or not we want to talk to them based on some qualities that don’t even really matter in the long run.

What I want people to get from this column is that online dating is legitimate. No longer is it a hang out place for pedophiles and guys who can’t spell. Don’t get me wrong, those sites are out there, but they’re slowly becoming overshadowed by the good ones. And I’ve been to the speed dating events Iowa State holds. I’ve seen the massive amount of people that show up. Sure, some of them could be there as a joke or just looking for casual sex, but a good majority of the public hates being alone — big thanks to romantic comedies.

Believe me, I’m not one of those people who thinks a relationship is the end-all, be-all of human achievement. I just think it’s nice having someone to campanile with. And in this age of keyboards and instant messages, why can’t we meet someone online?